Reflexology on Chronic Low Back Pain Intensity in 50 Nurses

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The Effects of Reflexology on Chronic Low Back Pain Intensity in Nurses Employed in Hospitals Affiliated With Isfahan University of Medical Sciences



Humans have been involved with the phenomena of pain and pain relief from the ancient times. Back pain is the most common pain. In fact, eight out of ten people experience it in their lifetime. However, individuals with specific jobs, including nurses, are faced with this problem more.

Nursing is in the top ten careers suffering from the most severe musculoskeletal injuries. There are non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic treatments to relieve back pain. One of the non-medical treatments of pain is called reflexology which is a branch of complementary and alternative therapies. This research has been conducted to investigate the effect of reflexology on chronic low back pain intensity.

Materials and methods: 

This study was a double-blind clinical trial. The study population consisted of 50 female and male nurses suffering from chronic low back pain working in hospitals affiliated with Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. The participants were divided into two groups of reflexology and non-specific massage.

A questionnaire was completed through interviews and a 40 minute sessions of interventions were performed three times a week for two weeks. Pain intensity was measured by Numerical Analogue Scale for pain before and after the intervention. Descriptive and inferential statistics, including independent t-test and chi-square test, were used to analyze the data.


The results showed a significantly higher reduction in pain intensity scores in the reflexology group after the intervention as compared with the non-specific massage group. However, the non-specific massage was also significantly effective in reducing pain.


Reflexology can be effective in reducing the severity of chronic back pain, i.e. it is able to reduce pain from moderate to mild. Thus, this technique is recommended to be performed by nurses as a complementary therapy in patient care.

Keywords: Pain; back pain; complementary therapies; nursing; reflexology.


Eghbali M, Safari R, Nazari F, Abdoli S. The effects of reflexology on chronic low back pain intensity in nurses employed in hospitals affiliated with Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2012;17(3):239‐243.

Actionable Information for Reflexologists

In this section you will find how this research paper enacted reflexology to produce these results. We at Reflexology.Report distilled the Methodology portion of this research paper and we are presenting you with:

  • General methods used
  • Organization and duration of sessions
  • Reflexology points

The purpose of this section is to make this research paper useful to all reflexologists. This is a tool developed by the Center of Reflexology and Research (Κέντρο Ρεφλεξολογίας και Έρευνας) in Greece and supervised volunteers from across the world.

The reflexologist started a simple massage from the lower legs to the ankles, soles and finally toes. This was repeated for several times. As the heel was supported by one hand, the ankle was twisted many times to loosen the legs and make the subject ready for the specific reflexology.

The specific massage was then performed on all reflex points on the feet. Some points were massaged by using thumbs or other fingers continuously without losing contact with the skin. Massaging was also conducted on the lower arch-edge of the foot (corresponding to lumbar region) for about 5 to 10 minutes.

Index and pointing fingers were placed on reflex points. They moved apart and reached back for several times in a worm-like movement.

Ο ρεφλεξολόγος ξεκίνησε ένα απαλό μασάζ από τους αστραγάλους στα πέλματα και τέλος στα δάχτυλα των ποδιών. Αυτό επαναλήφθηκε για αρκετές φορές. Καθώς στήριζε τη φτέρνα με το ένα χέρι, έκανε περιστροφή του αστραγάλου με το άλλο χέρι για να χαλαρώσει τα πόδια και να προετοιμάσει για τη ρεφλεξολογία.

Στη συνέχεια ειδική πίεση πραγματοποιήθηκε σε όλα τα σημεία αντανακλαστικών στα πόδια. Σε μερικά σημεία χρησιμοποίησε τους αντίχειρες ή άλλα δάχτυλα συνεχώς χωρίς να χάνει την επαφή με το δέρμα. Πιέσεις ασκήθηκαν επίσης στο κάτω άκρο του ποδιού (που αντιστοιχεί στην οσφυϊκή περιοχή) για περίπου 5 έως 10 λεπτά.

Οι δείκτες και τα άλλα δάχτυλα τοποθετήθηκαν σε αντανακλαστικά σημεία ακολουθώντας την κίνηση της κάμπιας.

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